Lucky # Slevin (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

It’s always hard to tell which movies are really interesting, well-written and actually worth a look. And due to the influx of DVD’s that I receive, I have to take the occasional risk and view a movie that I might not really want to see. This has an upside; naturally, as I’ve found quite a few movies that I’d have otherwise not have had the inclination to see. Such is the case with “Lucky # Slevin”, a movie I remember reading about and seeing trailers for briefly last spring, but certainly not one that the buzz was surrounding. First off, I’m a fan of Josh Hartnett. I’ve liked the choices he’s made in movies and I feel he’s an underrated actor. Hartnett rose to fame, of course, in “Pearl Harbor” and has had varying success since then. But after a small role in last year’s “Sin City”, it was time for another darker role for him though he makes the most of it here. The script was written by Jason Smilovic and the movie directed by Paul McGuigan (“Wicker Park” also starring Hartnett) and for every moment of violence in the film, it’s equalized by a moment of humor. If ever there were a black comedy, this is certainly it.

There’s a brief back story about a man who bets his life savings on a horse who’s a “sure thing”. Naturally the horse loses, the man can’t pay and he and his family are likewise killed by gangsters. We then flash forward to meet Slevin Kelevra (Josh Hartnett) as he’s in the middle of what can be construed as the worst day of his life. He’s lost his job, girlfriend and his apartment and as he emerges from the shower, is confronted by two henchmen who believe him to be someone else. He’s to perform a murder to repay the $96,000 debt that he doesn’t owe. Naturally this means nothing to the crime boss (Morgan Freeman, playing about the most likeable crime boss ever) who only wants the job done. No sooner is Slevin returned to his friend’s abode than two other henchmen essentially repeat the same process. The catch is that the two opposing crime bosses are and have been at war with each other for some twenty years. So paranoid are they, that though they live across the street from one another, they’ve been reduced to shut-ins in order to avoid getting killed by the other. Slevin finds himself between a rock and a hard place and is doing everything he can to avoid getting killed himself.

There’s more, of course, but it’s hard to get all the ins and outs of what’s really happening without divulging the plot. I also neglected to mention two key characters: Lindsey (Lucy Liu), the spunky neighbor who may or may not become Slevin’s love interest. And then there’s Goodkat (Bruce Willis), a shadowy figure who’s as mysterious as his namesake. What I will say is that the movie has a very quirky, snappy style to it that I loved immediately. Hartnett seems to really have fun with his role here and it shows. And call me crazy, but in some scenes he looks exactly like a younger version of Brad Pitt. Odd. The rest of the supporting cast is rounded out with Stanley Tucci and Ben Kingsley turning in decent performances themselves. While “Lucky # Slevin” may not be for everyone (there are some pretty graphic scenes), I found it particularly enjoyable and a good time.

Video: How does it look?

“Lucky # Slevin” is presented in a 2.35:1 AVC HD transfer and having seen the film in both standard DVD and HD DVD, I was curious as to how this would look on Blu-ray. As it turns out, I wasn’t disappointed and the other two incarnations of this film looked pretty good as well. General color balance and saturation is above average, though a few of the indoor scenes seem a bit overexposed and some appear a bit soft as well. Contrast is amazing with some scenes even emitting a 3-D quality to them. Detail is bumped up from the standard DVD version, as we might expect but the overall package is something that’s sure to please viewers.

Audio: How does it sound?

A Dolby TrueHD track is used here and to great effect in some scenes. I’d say that the mainstay of this track is the witty dialogue, but there are some genuinely good action sequences that really make the uncompressed track stand out and get noticed. By and large, this track is relegated to the front channels but during said scenes, there’s a true 360 degree soundstage that sounds amazingly real. The original Dolby Digital 5.1 track is included as well as a 5.1 track in French as well.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The same supplements found on the standard DVD and the HD DVD are present here and while no Blu-ray exclusives can be found, it’s still nice to have all of the supplements here. The two commentary tracks are certainly worthwhile. I personally feel that they should have just been edited into one track, but Hartnett, Liu and writer Jason Smilovic are pretty chatty on their track. Director Paul McGuigan is a bit more laid back and not nearly as talkative as the others. There’s the standard “Making of Lucky # Slevin'” which is fairly informative, but you’ve seen one and you’ve seen them all. What’s more interesting are the deleted scenes and even an alternate ending. It shows you which direction that the film could have gone and though the deleted scenes don’t offer a whole lot, it’s a nice addition for sure.

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